March Madness – The Challenge of Prediction

March 2016 Volume 3 Issue 3

Just as individual and team performances make it difficult to fill out your March Madness brackets, the increased complexity of international problems makes anticipating future developments particularly challenging. How can we best choose the right teams (or accurately anticipate how the future will unfold) when facing high degrees of uncertainty?

Strategic Foresight Analysis: A family of imaginative, reframing techniques that infuse creativity into the analytic process.

Using Strategic Foresight Analysis, analysts can better structure a problem, identify underlying key drivers, and discover unknown unknowns. Trying to predict the future is a fool’s task; life is just too complicated. A better approach is to identify what key forces, factors, and developments are most likely to shape how events will unfold and generate scenarios that frame the future operating environment for a policymaker or a corporate decision maker. Together with Indicators, Strategic Foresight Contact Us Questions? Contact us at 703.390.9900 OR Visit Our Website Recommended Resources Carmel basketball an early adopter of numbers-based way to play 17 Predictions About The Future Of Big Data Everyone Should Read Big data offers path forward for retention initiatives techniques can help you discover which “low probability picks” are beginning to emerge, warn of coming surprises, and suggest new strategies for leveraging new opportunities.

The time it takes to use Strategic Foresight techniques can range from a few hours to several days, depending on the difficulty of the problem and number of participants involved in the process. When little time is available, a simple technique to use is Flipping Assumptions. Identify two or three key assumptions and then assess what it would mean if one of them is no longer true. For major projects such as projecting the future trajectory of the EU, use Multiple Scenarios Generation-a two-day process that generates a robust set of potential scenarios. Other techniques that can be matched to specific needs include: Structured Brainstorming, Simple Scenarios, Alternative Futures Analysis, Cone of Plausibility, Classic Quadrant Crunching™, Foresight Quadrant Crunching™, and the Strategic Foresight Decision Tool™. All of the techniques are based on the premise that generating a large number of stories about how the future will evolve increases the sensitivity of analysts and decision makers to outlier scenarios, provides fresh insights for reframing a problem, reveals new opportunities, and reduces the chances of surprise.

Read more about Foresight Analysis in the Handbook of Analytic Tools and Techniquesclick here for details. A detailed description of how these nine techniques work can be found in Randolph H. Pherson’s Strategic Foresight: Nine Techniques for Business and Intelligence Analysis – click here for the article.